This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic Voices blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world.
Three Easy Ways to Protect our Oceans:
Help Fund the iLCP Mesoamerican Reef Expedition
Head to your Local Beach and host a Clean-Up
From the vastness of the world’s oceans, the mystery of underwater ecosystems to humankind’s reliance on marine processes, the ocean is a wonderfully strange, altogether necessary part of our world. It is on World Oceans Day that we reflect on all of the benefits, mysteries, and wonders of the ocean.
First, try to imagine the expanse of the ocean. It’s hard to conceptualize how to even think about how to imagine it! The average depth of the ocean is just over 12,000 feet. That means, that your run-of-the-mill, nothing special depth of the ocean would be just over 21 times deeper than the Washington Monument is tall.
The mysteries of the ocean are astounding, astronomical in number, and – sometimes – simply strange. Take the electrolocation abilities of some sharks, for example. According to Malcolm McIver, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University, sharks have the ability to sense electrical fields using evolved electrical sensors. Using this for navigation and honing in on prey, some sharks have the ability to detect electrical fields down to the nanovolt level. This electrical field is so small, and the detection so well developed, that the shark can use earth’s magnetic field to navigate instead of relying on other indicators like light, wave direction, or water currents.
Finally, we humans not only explore and study in wonder the great processes of the ocean, but we rely completely on them as well. Take algae, perhaps on the surface the most mundane of underwater life forms. Algae, with the help of underwater vegetation and coral, store over 90% of the world’s carbon dioxide.
iLCP in collaboration with the Smithsonian Marine Station, Think Beyond Plastics and Healthy Reefs Initiative are headed to the Mesoamerican Reef to support their respective programs in small scale fisheries, reef management, and reduction of plastics waste.
The expedition to Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize aims to provide visual media that will help reach, teach, and influence key constituencies in the Mesoamerican Reef region and around the world about the benefits of adopting digital technologies, specifically SI’s new OurFish App, for improved small scale fisheries management.
It is the goal of iLCP, in collaboration with our Fellows, Partners, and Affiliates to make ocean conservation a daily effort so that we may study, learn from, and be inspired by the ocean for generations. Happy World Ocean’s Day!
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